Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A Woman's Courage - The French Revolution

In the later eighteenth century, the status-quo was ripped apart by the poor and middle class in France who demanded equal rights with the rich who were stifling them with high taxes. In 1789 the French Revolution was born with all its accompanying atrocities.
I didn’t wish to rehash the exact events—most of this novel takes place in England—but created a young woman, Lisbette “Bettina” Jonquiere, daughter of a count, who is dragged away by a trusted (she thinks) major domo to protect her from the dangers in Paris after her father’s sudden death.
Her life of luxury vanishes and she must learn to survive with only her wits and courage.

I didn’t write a fluff piece, but through thorough research, a story with all the grit and authenticity of the era. This portion takes place in my first novel, Escape the Revolution.

This blurb explains ESCAPE THE REVOLUTION (also titled The False Light and then Betrayed Countess):

Forced from France on the eve of the French Revolution, Countess Bettina Jonquiere must deliver an important package to further the royalist cause. In England, she discovers the package is full of blank papers, the address false and she’s penniless. Bettina toils in a bawdy tavern and falls in love with a man who may have murdered his wife. Tracked by ruthless revolutionaries, she must uncover the truth about her father’s murder—and her lover’s guilt—while her life is threatened.

The novel grew so huge, I had to cut the last third, beef up that part of the story, and generated a sequel. For those who enjoyed the first novel, but lamented there was no Happily Ever After, I hope you’ll read this dénouement to the story that showcases Bettina’s further trials and triumphs—and perhaps that happy ending.

Here’s the blurb for HOSTAGE TO THE REVOLUTION:

In 1796, ruined countess Bettina Jonquiere leaves England after the reported drowning of her lover, Everett.  In New Orleans she struggles to establish a new life for her children. Soon a ruthless Frenchman demands the money stolen by her father at the start of the French Revolution. Bettina is forced on a dangerous mission to France to recover the funds. She unravels dark family secrets, but will she find the man she lost as well?

I hope fans will enjoy both of these novels. I think readers will be satisfied with a trip through sultry New Orleans, and a France torn apart by war during the rise of Napoleon.

But most importantly, a young woman’s determination to forge a new life while reconciling with her past in a turbulent time.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Farm in West Yorkshire

Isabelle's Choice is set in West Yorkshire, in the area around Halifax, Hebden bridge and Heptonstall. This story was a favourite of mine to write, and after visiting the area I could really imagine Isabelle living there. The quaint village of Heptonstall, situated on top of a moor and over looking Hebden Bridge and the river below is the perfect setting for the run-down farm where Isabelle goes to live when she marries Farrell, a drunken waster. She thought him a better man than he was, and out of desperation for her and her brother's safety, she hopes marriage will give her a decent life after the trauma of being in the workhouse. Little does she know...

Halifax, 1876. On the death of her mother and sister, Isabelle Gibson is left to fend for herself and her brother in a privately-run workhouse. After the matron's son attempts to attack her, Isabelle decides to escape him and a life of drudgery by agreeing to marry a moorland farmer she has never met. But this man, Farrell, is a drunkard and a bully in constant feud with his landlord, Ethan Harrington. When Farrell bungles a robbery and deserts her, Isabelle and Ethan are thrown together as she struggles to save the farm. Both are married and must hide their growing love. But despite the secrecy, Isabelle draws strength from Ethan as faces from the past return to haunt her and a tragedy is set to strike that will change all of their lives forever.

Isabelle’s Choice is available now
Amazon: myBook.to/IsabellesChoice

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Historical places

Apart from the historical novels I have set in Australia, the rest of my historical stories are set in various areas around Yorkshire, England. I think I chose Yorkshire because my family and ancestors are from this region.
Yorkshire has some beautiful countryside, and it's worth visiting, but it also has quaint little villages and historic cities full of wonderful architecture. It has a rugged coastline and bleak moors, sweeping valleys and mountains.

The map below shows you its size and location within the UK.

Novels I have set in Yorkshire and where.

Kitty McKenzie - York
To Gain What's Lost - Leeds
Aurora's Pride - York
Broken Hero - near Bridlington
Isabelle's Choice - Heptonstall & Hebden Bridge
Eden's Conflict - Gargrave
Catrina's Return - York
Grace's Courage - Leeds
Where Dragonflies Hover - Wakefield

I have visited all of the above places, but because my stories are set in Victoria & Edwardian time, I've relied heavily on maps from those eras and non-fiction research books, paintings and so on. Luckily for me, the eras I write in are not that long ago, unlike say, Roman or medieval, therefor I can still see evidence of Victorian streets and buildings. Some villages have not been modernised for centuries and that helps me as an author to visualise my characters in those places.

Gargrave, and the river Nathan gets swept away in - Eden's Conflict.

The photos of York, featured in Kitty McKenzie and Aurora's Pride.
The farm is something similar I pictured for Isabelle at Heptonstall in Isabelle's Choice.

These are just a few examples of places and images to show where my books are set, or where my characters might have visited. I could go on for hours and fill the page with photos, and perhaps I'll do some more another day.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Baron's Wife by Maggi Andersen On Sale for a Limited Time.


A dark cloud hovers over Wolfram, the ancient abbey Laura calls her new home. Can she trust the mysterious man she married?
After a whirlwind courtship, Laura Parr marries Baron, Lord Nathaniel Lanyon, and he takes her to live in his ancient home in Southern England. Laura comes to Cornwall excited to begin life with the passionate man she has married. But secrets lurk in the shadows. The death of Nathaniel’s first wife has never been solved, and some of the villagers believe him responsible. Struggling to understand her new husband, Laura tries to uncover the truth. With each stone unturned, she comes closer to danger.
Lord Nathaniel Lanyon had decided never to marry again. But when he meets Miss Laura Parr, the daughter of Sir Edmund Parr, one rainy afternoon, he realizes almost immediately that he must have her in his life. And the only way he could was to marry her.
Nathaniel believes that his troubled past is behind him and he can offer Laura a good life at Wolfram, even though he can never offer her his heart. But as soon as they come to live in the ancient abbey, the past returns to haunt him, revealing secrets that he thought had been buried forever. As he tries to fight the forces threatening to overwhelm him, he realizes that feisty Laura will demand more from him than he can give.
“A Gothic romance in the classic style, the author is a master at creating ominous atmosphere and multilayered characters.”  Coffee Time Romance and More.
“The plot was interesting and the added mystery kept me riveted. The novel kept me wondering until the end.” The Romance Studios.
“It was hard to put the story down as the mystery kept just out of reach, drawing the reader in further to the storyline. [It] kept me up way too late into the night following the puzzle of Wolfram Abbey. I look forward to seeing more from Maggi Andersen.” Siren Book Reviews.

Enjoy an excerpt:

When Nathaniel sat opposite Laura and picked up the oars, Teg untied the mooring rope and pushed them away from the dock. Nathaniel began to row, steering the boat out into the bay. Within minutes, they had left Teg and the wharf behind.
The ocean churned in a wash around them.  Laura glanced in dismay at her best boots as the boat dipped, and spray splashed over the sides to pool in the bottom. What if they were swamped? She couldn’t swim. The prospect of her heavy suit and footwear dragging her down made her suck in deep breaths of briny air.
She refused to express her concerns and watched her new husband with reluctant admiration, both annoyed and impressed with how calm and capable he was. It was impossible to imagine anything untoward happening with him in control. He grew up here and was at home on the sea. There would be no nasty surprises, she repeated silently like a mantra. The wind picked up. She clung to her hat that must now resemble a limp, old cabbage leaf, grateful that it shielded her eyes from the surprisingly sharp glare off the water.
Nathaniel pulled hard on the oars. “Not far now.”
“The abbey is on an island?” she managed to say, dreading his reply.
“No, Wolfram joins the coast farther on, but the causeway is the quickest way to the village. If you’d agreed to wait for the tide to turn, your journey would have ended in a more comfortable fashion.”
“This is not unpleasant.” Laura chewed her lip on the lie. “I wouldn’t have asked you to row in your good clothes if you’d explained.”
“What do clothes matter? Isn’t this invigorating? We’ll be there soon.”
His voice held a rasp of excitement, like a boy on Christmas morning, she thought with a reluctant smile. The mist cleared and a narrow jetty appeared, where a small sloop rocked on the waves.
“Welcome to Wolfram,” Nathaniel said.
While he secured the boat to the jetty, Laura gazed up at the abbey. Its tower, as unyielding as a mountain peak, emerged from the fog as the sky began to clear. Nathaniel lifted her onto the wharf. There was a rambling garden filled with flowering trees and shrubs spilling over a stone wall. Laura’s heart leapt at the sight of something so ordinary and familiar as she followed him along the path.
Nathaniel whistled. A moment later, exuberant barking rent the air, and a pair of red setters raced down the hill. Glossy ears bounced and tongues lolled as they pounced on their master in delight. “Meet Orsino and Sebastian.”
Laura laughed. “From Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night?” Her husband constantly surprised her.
He grinned. “A favorite play.”
The dogs barely acknowledged Laura; their love for their master took all their attention. After he rubbed their ears and gave them a pat, she walked with him up the path, the dogs rushing ahead.
They entered through a wooden gate in the stone wall.
The garden of purple magnolia and white azaleas that had caught her eye grew among ancient gravestones, the scent of jasmine cloying. Laura was taken aback. It looked so… forbidding. “Your ancestors?”
Nathaniel turned away. “Yes.”
She silently cursed herself for her insensitivity. Of course, his late wife, Amanda, would be buried here.
He smiled and held out his hand to her. She clasped it, and they continued up the hill. Laura’s breath shortened as emotion and exhaustion took their toll on her depleted energy reserves. She chided herself for her weakness, but she was tired; so much had happened, and it had been a long trip.
Nathaniel pushed open an iron gate which led into a cobblestoned courtyard. The abbey appeared, sheer walls of granite darkened to black by the fog, the long, mullioned windows reflecting a leaden sky. Above a set of wide steps, the solid pair of arched oak doors were set within a square frame of ornamental stone molding, with a solid brass knocker in the shape of a lion’s head.
“Orsino, Sebastian, to the stables!” Nathaniel commanded. The two dogs whined in protest, but turned and loped off around the corner.
The door opened. A dark-haired young maid in a black dress, white apron and mobcap bobbed. “My lord.”
Nathaniel frowned. “Where is Rudge?”
“Gone into the village, Your Lordship.”
“This is Lady Lanyon, Dorcas.”
“Milady.” Dorcas dipped again.
Wondering why his butler’s absence annoyed him, Laura smiled at the maid. “Hello, Dorcas. What is the housekeeper’s name? I should like to meet her.”
“We have no housekeeper at present, milady,” Dorcas said.
“Have tea brought to the library,” Nathaniel ordered.
He ushered Laura into a grand hall that reminded her of a cold, fossilized forest. Solid columns of stone like the trunks of giant oaks formed graceful arches rising to a giddy height above. The carved wooden staircase decorated with branches, leaves and fruit led up into the shadowy floor overhead. A chill radiated up from the stone flags.
Their footsteps echoing, Laura followed Nathaniel along a passageway where massive tapestries decorated the walls. He opened a door and stood aside for her to enter beneath an ornamental arch into a magnificent room, its high, vaulted ceiling a series of decorative ribs. A splendid stained glass window dominated the far wall, which was set on fire by the lowering sun. The fog had drifted away.
“We have a smaller salon, which is cozier in the winter. But I prefer this room.”
“It’s breathtaking.” Laura was unable to suppress the relief in her voice at finding both beauty and comfort in the elegant room. Bookshelves filled with gilt and leather-bound books covered two of the oak-paneled walls. Glass cabinets held displays of delicate Chinese porcelain. The furniture was mostly antiques of a very fine quality, most particularly the round rosewood library table and the carved oak desk. A large globe rested on a stand nearby. The pair of brown leather chesterfields faced a baronial fireplace, a Canaletto landscape of the Thames hanging above. It was all undeniably tasteful, well suited to a man like Nathaniel, she thought, eyeing the leopard skin rug stretched out before the fire.
“Did you shoot that?” she asked with a smile.
He grinned. “I believe a great uncle did. I don’t care for safaris.”
Relieved, she made a note to have it stored in the attic. “You have an extensive collection of Chinese porcelain.”
“My mother was a collector. Sit down, sweetheart. I’ll have a drink with you, and then I must consult my overseer Hugh Pitney. I’ll introduce you to him tomorrow.”
Apart from the beautiful porcelain, Laura couldn’t see a sign of a woman’s influence anywhere. No likenesses in silver frames, no china ornaments, shawls or crocheted antimacassars. She sat on the chesterfield and swallowed her disappointment at him leaving her so soon. Although eager to see more of the house, she would have liked him to show it to her. But she knew he must supervise the running of his estate, especially after an absence.
Nathaniel seemed preoccupied since they arrived. As if Wolfram owned a large part of him. She shrugged at such a fanciful thought but couldn’t help another creeping in to replace it. Would Wolfram ever become home to her? She sat back and smoothed her heavy skirt that she couldn’t wait to change out of. While she wanted to learn more about Nathaniel’s life here, now was not the time to ask. “Tell me more about the history of the abbey.”
He poured himself a whiskey from a crystal decanter on the sideboard. “It was a monastery before it became an abbey. The estate has been in my family since the 16th century.” He stretched his long legs out and leaned back against the leather squab. “The Jacobites hid here in 1714. Their plan was to seize Exeter, Bristol and Plymouth in the hope that the other smaller towns would join the Stuart cause. But the militia quelled the uprising.”
“Your ancestors supported the Jacobites?”
“King James II was a Catholic, and King Charles II’s illegitimate son, the Duke of Monmouth, was popular in the Southwest. The first Baron Lanyon supported his claim to the throne. Not wisely as it turned out.”
Dorcas carried a tray with a solid silver tea service into the room, followed by another maid with golden-colored fruitcake, flat scones, thick cream and jam.
Laura had rejected any food on the train, and now her stomach rumbled. She took a bite of the fruitcake, finding it tasty. “What makes the cake this wonderful color?”
“Saffron. Traditional fare in these parts.”
Nathaniel put down his glass. He stood and bent to brush a kiss on her lips. “Dorcas will take care of your needs.”
Why no housekeeper? She had many questions, but he was gone before she could ask them. Laura poured another cup of tea, a smoky brew she didn’t recognize. The dainty teacup was Spode china with the family crest emblazoned on it in gold.
She’d finished her tea and was eating the last crumbs of the delicious fruit cake when Dorcas returned. “I’ll take you to your chamber, should you be ready, milady.”
Eager to see more of the abbey, Laura rose and followed her. They mounted the wide staircase and on the next floor walked along a corridor. A chambermaid waited with linen over her arm, her eyes downcast.
“How many on the staff, Dorcas?”
“A dozen servants in the house. There be many workers on the estate though. I have no idea of the number. You be in the Daffodil chamber, milady.”
“That sounds inviting,” Laura said, as Dorcas opened one of the thick, arched wooden doors.
Laura almost gasped out loud. Wolfram’s rooms were lofty and large, and this room was no exception. She gazed from the painted plaster ceiling a good twenty feet above, to the floor covered in a thick Oriental carpet. An entire family could sleep in comfort in the carved oak four-poster bed with gold brocade bed hangings. A massive armoire occupied a corner, with a washstand and basin, a vanity table and brocade stool against the other wall. A painting of a lady in green velvet from another age hung above the stone fireplace. Laura wondered who it was. At least it wasn’t Amanda, she thought, stifling a nervous giggle. Stepping into another woman’s shoes was rather daunting.
Laura crossed to the tall, narrow casement windows, catching sight of her pale face in a gilt mirror as she passed. She prodded her hair. Heavens, she looked like a scarecrow. Pulling aside the heavy brocade curtains woven in gold thread, she gazed at the view below.
A stiff breeze dispersed the last tendrils of fog and bared the causeway, a built-up carriageway, the receding tide lapping at its rocky foundations. There were the steps she and Nathaniel had climbed earlier, which led through terraced gardens down to the restless expanse of slate-colored sea. Craning her neck, Laura could just see the stable block next to a more modern building that would be the overseer’s office. The trap had arrived, and two men unloaded the luggage. Nathaniel wandered into view, imposing in his riding clothes, his crop resting on his shoulder, his dogs romping at his heels.
Aware that Dorcas waited behind her, Laura turned. “I shall be most comfortable here.”
Dorcas jerked her head. “His lordship be in the Fern chamber, milady.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“It’s the chamber next door, milady.”
“Oh. Of course, thank you.”
Laura pressed her lips, as a cold dismay gripped her.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Aurora's Pride - Victorian saga

Aurora's Pride

Victorian historical novel, Aurora's Pride, is set in 1898 Yorkshire.
 This is Aurora and Reid's story and will be available in paperback and March 14th 2017.

Back blurb:
Aurora Pettigrew has it all, a loving family, a nice home, a comfortable life. She’s waiting for the right man to offer her marriage, and the man for her is Reid Sinclair, heir to the Sinclair fortune and the love of her life.
But, Reid’s mother, Julia, is against the match and her ruthlessness unearths a family secret that will tear Aurora’s world apart.
Unwilling to bring shame on her family and needing answers to the allegations brought to light by Reid’s mother, Aurora begins a long journey away from home. She leaves behind all that is familiar and safe to enter a world of mean streets and poor working class.
Living in the tenements of York, surrounded by people of a class she’d never mixed with before, Aurora struggles to come to terms with the way her life has changed. By chance, she reconnects with a man from her past and before he leaves with the army to war in South Africa, he offers her security through marriage.
Aurora knows she should be happy, but the memory of her love for Reid threatens her future.
When tragedy strikes, can Aurora find the strength to accept her life and forget the past?


Aurora walked along the streets of York, head down against the wind. The end of summer was proving difficult this year and warm days would be followed by squalls of rain and blustery winds such as today. Since Ethel Minton’s visit six days ago, Aurora had gone out looking for work and new accommodation. Each day she had come home despondent on both issues. Without a wage they couldn’t look at the better houses, and the poorer areas were the likes of Edinburgh Yard, which she and Sophia were adamant not to go back to. Noah and Lily had spoken as one offering their home to them, but Aurora was reluctant to agree as they’d be on top of each other, especially when the two babies came.
  Aside from the anxiety of finding money and lodgings, she had become aware over the last few days of someone watching her. She couldn’t define what made her so sure someone was, but instinct told her she didn’t walk the streets alone. Then, last night, while closing the curtains a stranger lingered in the lane looking at her windows. As yet she hadn’t mentioned it to Sophia, who after the attack was nervous enough and jumped at any loud bangs or sudden shouts. Perhaps she should mention it to Noah, ask him to keep an eye out, and just hope that she was imagining it all.
  Her feet throbbed as she turned into Coney Street. The baby kicked, a new sensation that Aurora marveled at in secret joy. She rubbed her stomach and hurried on. She needed to buy some buttons and thread, as Sophia was letting out all her skirts. She’d have liked to buy some linen material too, for a blouse, but every penny had suddenly become precious now neither of them was working.
  She passed a tailor’s shop and was bumped into by two men coming out of the doorway. She apologized, even though it wasn’t her fault, at the same time the gentleman did too. Then she stopped and stared. Tom Sinclair stood gaping back at her, open-mouthed.
  “Aurrie?” He frowned, puzzled.
  She was the first to recover. “How are you, Tom?”
  “My God!” Tom enveloped her in a tight embrace and for a moment she relished being held by him. It’d been a long time since a man had held her, and Tom was as close as she would get to Reid. He stared at her in amazement. “What are you doing in York?”
  “Shopping.” She smiled brightly, acting as though them bumping into each other was an everyday occurrence. “And you?”
  “Oh this and that.” His gaze roamed over her and his grin faltered as he took in her appearance. He’d never seen her in anything but beautiful clothes and neatly groomed. She put a hand to her hair escaping from her felt hat and blushed. He’d noticed her faded clothes beneath her coat, which also needed a sponge and brush. Her shoes hadn’t seen polish for weeks.
  Tom turned to his companion. “Hal, my friend, I’ll meet you back at the hotel.”
  Hal, a tall, healthy-looking young man winked, a devilish smile in his eyes. “As you wish, my good fellow, but remember we leave on the evening train tomorrow.”
  Aurora’s blush deepened, imagining what Hal would think of her. “You should have introduced me, Tom. He thinks the worst judging by that remark.”
  “That’s more exciting than the truth though, isn’t it?” Tom’s smile flashed, but the amusement in his eyes had vanished completely. “There’s a tearoom on the corner. Let’s go.” He took her elbow and so shocked was she to see this serious side of him that she let him escort her into a small tearoom and assist her onto a wooden chair in the corner. He sat on the other side of the square table and lifted his hand to the passing waitress. “Tea and a plate of-of cakes…er…food, sandwiches and the like.”
  “Tom, I—” The words dried in her mouth as she saw the agony in his eyes. “What is it?”
  “I cannot believe it.” He shook his head and looked as if he was going to cry.
  Her heart leapt to her throat and she leaned forward. “Good God, Tom, what?”
  “What happened to you?” His voice came out on a whisper.
  She sat back in her chair, again conscious of her appearance. “You must be shocked.”
  “Shocked?” he squeaked and then clearing his throat, he held his hands out as if in question. “I thought you were travelling with your father’s aunt? That’s what your mother is telling everyone. Is this aunt without funds? Doesn’t your father know—’
  “Please, Tom, stop.” She rubbed her forehead, wondering how to tell him, whether she should tell him. “I’m not with my father’s aunt.”
  “I don’t understand.” He scratched his chin. “Aurrie, dearest, you look like hell. You’re so thin and…and shabby.”
  She wanted to laugh at being called thin, especially when the front fastening corset she’d bought only two weeks ago no longer fitter her. The top button of her blue skirt was left undone and her white blouse strained across her breast, which she hid with her coat, but his expression of horror wiped the laughter from her instantly. Apart from the parts of her body concern with the child, the rest of her was thin, her hands and arms especially. “It’s a long story.”
  “And I’ve got all day.”
  “But I haven’t.” She stood. “I must go. It was nice seeing you again.”
  “No.” He grabbed her wrist and forced her to sit down, causing the other customers to glance in their direction.      “Don’t go, not yet.” He let go of her as she sat and the waitress brought over a tea tray, which she set out on the table. Tom watched Aurora the entire time and she knew he was full of questions. “I want to hear it all, Aurrie.”
  “Do you?” She pulled off her gloves, revealing her red and work-chapped hands and ignored his gasp of surprise at the sight of them. Dropping a cube of sugar into her cup, she then stirred it slowly with a teaspoon. “I don’t think you want to know, Tom, not really.” She gave him a sad smile, knowing his personality as one of fun and laughter, never taking anything seriously.
  “I thought we were friends?”
  “We were. When life was simple.”
  “Aurrie, please. I can’t bear to see you like this.”
  “This?” She waved at her worn clothes. “Good lord, Tom, this is a good day.” Her chuckle was brittle. “We had enough water last night for a bath so I washed my hair…’
  “We?” He leaned forward over the table, cradling his teacup in one hand and took her hand in his other.
  “My mother, Sophia. We live together.”
  “Your mother Sophia?” His eyes widened. “Dearest, are you ill?”
  “Mad you mean?” This time she did laugh. “I wish I was, but alas I’m quite sane.” She bent over the table until their faces were nearly touching. “Can you cope with knowing the truth, Tom Sinclair? The man who has never had a moment of responsibly in his life?”
If you're looking for a fairy tale with a twist, then look no further than Aurora's Pride. The characters may not fill out all the classic roles precisely, and you'll get to meet the entire townspeople around the "castle", but they are beyond a doubt entertaining and very adeptly written. It's a great read that reminds the little girls in us that sometimes the princess has to become Cinderella in order to be a good queen one day.
Books N Beans

 Aurora's Pride is available now.
Apple iBook https://goo.gl/1oY8BH

Friday, July 7, 2017

Victorian saga - Grace's Courage on sale 99c

Grace's Courage

       My Victorian historical novel, Grace's Courage is set in Leeds, West Yorkshire,  England 1870.

 I truly enjoyed writing Grace's Courage. It's many engaging characters and the twists and turns this novel took as it evolved, had me gripped from page one.
 I wrote the first draft in five months because most chapters just flowed really well, which is very rewarding for the writer when that happens! But then, who couldn't have fun with seven daughters, a tyrannical father, a
selfish mother, a lost love, a handsome butler and a quiet, enigmatic coal miner?
 I hope readers enjoy it too.

As the Victorian Age draws to a close, lonely and brokenhearted, Grace Woodruff fights for her sisters’ rights to happiness while sacrificing any chance for her own.
The eldest of seven daughters, Grace is the core of strength around which the unhappy members of the Woodruff family revolve. As her disenchanted mother withdraws to her rooms, Grace must act as a buffer between her violent, ambitious father and the sisters who depend upon her.
Rejected by her first love and facing a spinster’s future, she struggles to hold the broken family together through her father’s infidelity, one sister’s alcoholism, and another’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy by an unsuitable match.
Caring for an illegitimate half-brother affords Grace an escape, though short-lived. Forced home by illness and burdened with dwindling finances, Grace faces fresh anguish –and murder– when her first love returns to wreck havoc in her life.
All is not lost, however. In the midst of tragedy, the fires of her heart are rekindled by another. Will the possibility of true love lead Grace to relinquish her responsibilities in the house of women and embrace her own right to happiness?

 Grace's Courage is now.
Kobo UK
Apple iBook

*Please note that Grace's Courage was originally published with the title, The House of Women.

Review Rating: 5 Cups
Grace Elizabeth Woodruff is one of seven daughters who witness her family crumble before her.
Montgomery Woodruff, the father of the household, does not love his wife and hates being saddled with seven daughters.
Diana, the mother, neglects the household duties leaving everything to Grace.
William Ross holds a part of Grace's heart. It has been six years since she has seen him.
William Doyle, the new butler admires Grace.
George Henry Walters is shift foreman and a union man who fights for the rights in the mines. He is smitten with Grace.
Grace wishes for joy and pleasure just once in her life. She has always been the strength of the family and now the pressures are rising into one giant boiling pot about to explode. Her father pawns his daughters into marriages that tighten his money belt. The daughters see it as escape from an abusive, selfish father. Grace tries to keep peace while taking care of ailing sisters and wishing for her own flight. When an old love returns, a new butler is hired and a shift foreman enters her life, Grace wonders is this her chance to leave a family that has needed her many years.
Grace's Courage is a saga about a family full of betrayal, hate, lies, infidelity, disappointments and often love. Grace is a strong character that strives to keep things intact while facing many frustrations. Her deep felt emotions interweave within the pages. Ms. Brear paints a remarkable novel with well-developed secondary characters that bring out the good and the bad in the worse of families. She instills believability with all her characters. She pens a story that will touch the heart, often irritate and sometimes make the reader cheer. This is a most rare gripping read.
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance
Reviewer for Karen Find Out About New Books

After finishing Grace's Courage by newer author Anne Brear I applaud this author for this immensely satisfying and fine example of a riveting Victorian historical. I can promise that once started you will not put it down until the final page is turned.
In Leeds, England 1870, Grace Woodruff, eldest of seven daughters is mired in responsibility. Grace runs the household and serves as a buttress between her sisters and the father who sees all his daughters as nothing but worthless commodities to be wed in order to forge business ties, gain wealth and ingratiate himself with the nobility. But fate is about to deal the entire Woodruff family some devastating blows and losses that will send this dysfunctional family spiraling out of control leaving Grace to stand alone in forging a new way of life in trying to manage both household and her heart.
What an amazing story from this newer author that chronicles a strong and resilient young woman's journey as she put aside her own broken heart in order to battle and stem the tide of the downward disintegration of her family from the result of their father's perfidious ways. Grace was a terrifically strong and resilient  heroine whose loving heart and loyalty to her siblings was unwavering and constant in a life turned upside down. Coming on the heels of the authors fabulous debut of KITTY MCKENZIE this sticks to a common theme of featuring a well to do family that must learn how to live in reduced circumstances while surmounting real
problems that people face even today. Brear excels with a deft hand in creating superb depictions of her characters with amazing depth. Frankly, if you've ever been a fan of Catherine Cookson, you are going to love AnneMarie Brear. This was a remarkable, deeply moving and powerful read I hated to see end and one in which I highly recommend.
Marilyn Rondeau, RIO - Reviewers International Organization

Nobody wants to help Grace Woodruff deal with the running of the household or managing the problems of her mother and many sisters. It would, by all rights, be enough to drive anyone crazy, but Grace rises to each and every challenge that comes her way. Placed in a time period where women had very little power, Grace proves again and again what strong women are capable of achieving.
AnneMarie Brear has created a truly remarkable heroine, along with a cast of characters that will keep you guessing until the end.
"Grace's Courage" is full of twists and turns that are sure to entertain. Ms. Brear's character development has certainly impressed me. Kudos to the author. -
Diane Wylie - author

AnneMarie Brear has penned a wonderful historical novel addressing hurtful family issues as well as triumphs. Grace's Courage is set in 1870 Leeds, England, in a time when women had few choices.
Despite the abuse of her father, the emotional abandonment of her mother, and the unpredictability of her six sisters, stalwart Grace Woodruff keeps the family together through thick and thin. But all she really wants is her own family.
Grace's Courage is a story of serious family issues, of love lost and love gained, of financial strife and crossing class lines.
Ms. Brear brings amazing strength of character to Grace as well as depth of emotion to all characters--characters you're sad to leave at the end. I would recommend The House of Women to anyone.
- Jacquie Rogers author.